Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom welcomes BT's free-to-air proposals
Fans of Aviva Premiership rugby could receive some free-to-air games as part of the new £152million BT Vision deal.
Discussions are ongoing as to how exactly the telecommunications company are going to deliver their domestic packages during the new four-year deal, which is due to begin at the start of the 2013-14 season.
But Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom said that some of the proposals put forward by BT are for several games to appear on a free-to-view format.
And I understand ITV have shown an interest in showing some of those games on one of their channels. That could give the league and the sport a huge boost, with millions of extra people having access to games.
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The knock-on effect could not only encourage greater participation at grass-roots level, but also bring more paying fans into the country's stadia.
"BT have come into this with their eyes wide open," said Tom. "And for Premiership Rugby, this deal is a ringing endorsement of our product with proposals that are very sensible across the board.
"There are proposals for some free-to-air rugby, and you suspect that may go through.
"With all of the different ways to view sport these days on phones and tablets and various social media, we feel that we have chosen a great partner in BT, who will be going out of their way to provide the best possible platform to show and promote the sport."
Premiership Rugby released a joint statement promising 'easy access' to the sport when coverage begins next season.
It read: "The exciting new deal with BT will make it more convenient than it has ever been to watch teams in action, because all live coverage will be available through one broadcast partner – so fans will no longer need to subscribe to two different sports channels to catch all of the Premiership action (ESPN and Sky).
"BT want to make it clear that the BT Sports Channel will be available to as many homes as possible in the UK when it launches next year, so availability will not be dependent on being a BT customer."
While BT's coverage of domestic rugby will go ahead, the situation with how any future European competition will be screened is in turmoil.
Premiership Rugby have been involved in discussions with Heineken Cup organisers, European Rugby Cup (ERC), and the five other countries with teams involved.
Whether BT or Sky will take over the new European contract in 2014 is just one of the items on the agenda.
The sides met in Dublin earlier this month and got nowhere despite five hours of talks.
Those discussions were adjourned and will be reconvened in Rome on October 8.